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Haley

This week’s shelter pet is Haley, an 8-year-old female/spayed Pit/terrier mix waiting at the Smithtown Animal Shelter for her furever home. 

Sweet Haley lost both of her parents within a few weeks of each other. Despite that trauma, she seeks love (and food) from anyone she meets. Haley is an affectionate dog, but she can be a bit protective, so her ideal home is one without children. She lived with a cat and had a smaller dog best friend she loved to play with. With the exception of a small weight problem, Haley is a healthy girl and would love a happy home to spend her golden years in. 

She comes spayed, microchipped and up to date on her shots.

If you are interested in meeting Haley, please call ahead to schedule an hour to properly interact with her in a domestic setting, which includes a dog run and a Meet and Greet Room. 

The Smithtown Animal & Adoption Shelter is located at 410 Middle Country Road, Smithtown. Shelter operating hours are currently Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Sundays and Wednesday evenings by appointment only). For more information, call 631-360-7575 or visit www.smithtownanimalshelter.com.

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John Haley photo from SBU

By Daniel Dunaief

Once they reach their destination, they wreak havoc, destroying areas critical to life. All too often, when cancer spreads, or metastasizes, through the body, it becomes fatal.

John Haley, a Research Associate Professor in the Pathology Department at Stony Brook, is trying to figure out how cancer become metastatic and, even further, what they do to avoid recognition by the immune system.

Haley is “working on the mechanisms by which metastasis occurs,” he said. He is also studying the “immune recognition of tumor cells and, in the near future, wants to link the two.”

Understanding the way metastasis works can greatly reduce mortality in cancer, Haley said. Researchers are currently attempting to develop therapies that target metastatic cells, but these are often more difficult to kill than their primary counterparts, Haley explained.

The stakes are high, as 90 percent of cancer deaths are due to complications from the spread of cancer rather than the primary tumor itself, he said.

About 80 percent of human cancers are carcinomas, which are derived from epithelial cells. Those are the cells that make up the skin, and line the stomach and intestines.

“As cancers become metastatic, those cells have the ability to shape shift,” he said.

They become much more like fibroblasts, which are underneath the skin and glue the skin to bone and make up connective tissue layers. Haley said he has made some progress in understanding the molecular mechanism that allows cells to shift from epithelial to fibroblastic cells. They have “defined factors which promote” this transition, with differences in survival and growth pathways.

Haley works with a machine called a mass spectrometer, in which he identifies proteins in complex biological samples and measures how changes in composition alters function. He spends about half his time working on his own research and the other half assisting other researchers who are seeking to get a clearer view of key changes in proteins in their work.

In his own research, he wants to understand how cancers modify a cell’s proteins. He has helped define how cancers can change their protein signaling pathways to become drug resistant, which suggests targets for drug therapies.

Haley is tapping into an area of science that many other researchers are exploring, called bioinformatics. Using statistics and mathematical models, these scientists are cutting down on the number of genes and proteins they study, honing in on the ones that have the greatest chance to cause, or prevent, changes in a cell.

“We’re taking the data sets we’ve generated and trying to predict what we should look for in human patient samples,” Haley said. “We can find a tumor cell that have mutations or this expression profile and find drugs they are sensitive to.” Once scientists find those drugs, researchers can test them in cell cultures, then in mouse models and eventually in people, he said.

“We try to isolate someone’s cancer to understand what the molecular drivers are that occur in that cancer,” Haley said. The approach, as it is much of modern medicine, is to understand the patient’s genetics and biochemistry to select for a drug that would be effective against the particular mutations present in their tumor.

A resident of Sea Cliff, Haley is married to Lesley, whom he met while he was pursuing his PhD at Melbourne University. A native Australian, Lesley was completing her Masters in Opera when the couple met at a tennis match. They still play today. Lesley has sung at New York premieres for several living composers at concert venues including Avery Fischer Hall. She teaches music at her studio in Sea Cliff. Their children share their interests. John is a freshman studying biochemistry at Stony Brook University and Emma, who is a senior at North Shore High School, plans to study science and singing.

As for his work, Haley would like to see his efforts culminate in cancer therapies and diagnostics. Any novel therapy might also become a product for a start up company which could create jobs on Long Island. “There are some fabulous scientists” at the university, he said. “A major goal of the Center for Biotechnology and Diane Fabel, its director, is to create small businesses here in New York. I’m trying to help them in that goal.”

Photo courtesy Girl Scouts of Suffolk County

The Girl Scouts of Suffolk County honored 42 Girl Scouts at its annual Gold Award Dinner & Ceremony on May 30. The event was held at Villa Lombardi’s in Holbrook.

The Gold Award is the highest achievement in Girl Scouting and the preeminent leadership award for high school girls.  Gold Award Girl Scouts address issues they’re passionate about by planning and implementing a project that produces lasting change in their communities and beyond.

Among the awardees: 

Meredith Albertelli, Sayville High School

Kirsten Anderson, Longwood Senior High School

Morgan Bissell, Sayville High School

Zabelle Bobelian, Cold Spring Harbor Jr/Sr High School

Ashley Burke, Babylon Senior High School

Emma Cervone, Southampton High School

Brooke Cheskes, Harborfields High School

Mackenzie Clarke, Kings Park High School

Jessica Curran, Westhampton Beach High School

Julia Davi, St. John the Baptist

Alexandra Ebanks, Harborfields High School

Emily Franciscovich, Deer Park High School

Maeve   Graham, Babylon Senior High School

Alyssa Griesman, Smithtown High School West

Lauren Hedges, Kings Park High School

Sofia Kabacinski, Our Lady of Mercy Academy

Libby Kelly, Harborfields High School

Riya A. Kumar, Elwood-John Glenn High School

Avery Lazarus, Sayville High School

Alana Lewis, St. John The Baptist Diocesan High

Madison LoFrese, Smithtown High School East

Tianna    Marotta, Connetquot High School

Akiko Matrisciano, Our Lady of Mercy Academy

Chloe Montgomery, Ward Melville High School

Emily Newman, Walter G O’Connell School

Michaela O’Connell, Huntington High School

Annamaria Pepe, Walter G O’Connell Copiague High School

Angelica Rafaelides, Smithtown High School West

Megan  Reilly, St. Anthony’s High School

Rebecca Sandak, Mt Sinai High School

Ayesha Shaukat, St. Anthony’s High School

Theresa Soraire, Walter G O’Connell Copiague High School

Joelle Spainer, West Babylon Senior High School

Abbey Strent, Commack High School

Reagan Treharne, Southold High School

Brianna Vargas, Babylon Senior High School

Abigail Vermillion, Hauppauge High School

Haley Waszkelewicz, Westhampton Beach High School

Maegan Whalen, Commack High School

Evelyn Whitwell, St. Anthony’s High School

Layla Wilkes, Commack High School

Cassandra Yanke, Smithtown High School West

“Our Gold Award Girl Scouts are leaders in their community who are making measurable and sustainable change while still in high school said Tammy Severino, President and CEO of Girl Scouts of Suffolk County. “As they take action to transform their world, they gain tangible, real-world skills and a civic-minded awareness that sets them apart from their peers. 96% of Gold Award Girl Scouts say their experience inspired their ongoing commitment to service or volunteering. Our Gold Award Girl Scouts are discovering they have the power to create the future they want for themselves and others, and we are proud and honored by their achievements.”

To earn a Gold Award, each recipient must complete two Senior or Ambassador Journeys or their Girl Scout Silver Award before beginning their Gold Award project. To meet the Girl Scout Gold Award requirements, each candidate must complete at least 80 hours toward their project.

About Girl Scouts of Suffolk County 

Since 1968, Girl Scouts of Suffolk County has been committed to building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. With over 15,000 members, they are one of the largest youth-serving agencies in Suffolk County. Girl Scouts helps girls develop their full individual potential; relate to others with increasing understanding, skill, and respect; develop values to guide their actions and provide the foundation for sound decision making; and contribute to the improvement of society through their abilities, leadership skills, and cooperation with others. For more information about the Girl Scouts of Suffolk County, please call (631) 543-6622 or visit www.gssc.us.

Photo from Island Federal

Island Federal Credit Union (Island Federal) awarded college scholarships to 11 graduating high school seniors totaling $50,000 on May 21.

“For nearly seven decades, Island Federal has been a trusted financial partner to tens of thousands of Long Island families, helping them to achieve their dreams, from buying their first car to owning a home to affording a college education for their children,” said Craig Booth, Interim President/CEO, Island Federal. “We are thrilled to be able to help make college more affordable through our Island Federal Scholarship Program.”

Kyle Hickam of Oceanside High School , Leah Vanderborgh of Sayville High School, and Megan Young of Bayport-BluePoint High School each received a $10,000 scholarship. 

Wendy Bonilla of Brentwood High School, Christopher Brito of West Babylon High School, Julieanna D’Amato of Rocky Point High School, Haley S. Orehek of Commack High School, Skyla Peltzman of Half Hollow Hills East High School in Dix Hills, Rachel Petri of Bellport High School, Angeli Rubinstein of Division Avenue High School in Levitown and Brian Schoemmell of Ward Melville High School in East Setauket each received a $2,500 scholarship.

Since the inception of the Scholarship program in 1992, Island Federal has awarded scholarships to 375 local high school graduates totaling $910,000.

Eleanor Blakley-Whaley

Eleanor Blakley-Whaley Filed Fraudulent Court Orders Containing

Forged Signatures of a Suffolk County Judge

Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney announced on May 1 that Eleanor Blakley-Whaley, 61, of Sound Beach, pleaded guilty to Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Third Degree, for filing a forged judicial order purportedly issued by the Suffolk County District Court with the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office.

“This defendant circumvented and frustrated the legal system in Suffolk County in order to benefit herself,” said District Attorney Tierney. “I want to thank the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office for their cooperation and professionalism in this investigation.”

According to court documents and the defendant’s admissions during her guilty plea allocution, on June 29, 2022, Blakley-Whaley consented to the issuance of a Warrant of Eviction from her home located in the Town of Brookhaven by the Suffolk County District Court. The Warrant of Eviction was stayed by the court until October 31, 2022. Between November 1, 2022, and March 30, 2023, Blakley-Whaley filed six forged judicial orders stating that the eviction was stayed, and falsely purporting to have been issued by the Suffolk County District Court. Blakley-Whaley filed the forged orders with the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office in order to delay her eviction.

Prior to this case, on January 26, 2022, Blakley-Whaley pleaded guilty on an unrelated case, to Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a Class C felony, and was sentenced to three years of probation. At the time of her arrest on the latest charges, Blakley-Whaley was serving her sentence of probation and thus, this arrest and criminal conduct violated the terms of her probation sentence.

On April 30, 2024, Blakley-Whaley pleaded guilty before Acting County Court Judge James McDonaugh to one count of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Third Degree, a Class A misdemeanor. Blakley-Whaley is due back in court for sentencing on May 21, 2024, and faces up to one year in jail. She is being represented by Eric Sackstein, Esq.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Amanda Scheier of the Public Corruption Bureau.

Photo from Stony Brook Athletics

Coach Joe Spallina earns 200th win at Stony Brook

Stony Brook women’s lacrosse used an offensive explosion to defeat Delaware, 17-4, on Senior Day, April 6. The Seawolves were led by graduate attack Kailyn Hart who scored a career-high seven goals, six of which came in the first half of play.

With the win, Stony Brook head coach Joe Spallina earned his 200th victory with the Seawolves. Spallina improves to 200-39 over his 13 seasons at Stony Brook and 273-41 over his head coaching career.

Hart led a trio of Seawolves who tallied hat tricks in the win. Senior midfielder Ellie Masera and graduate midfielder Charlotte Verhulst each found the back of the net three times apiece.

Stony Brook also dominated on the defensive end as it limited Delaware to a season-low four goals. The Seawolves outshot the Blue Hens, 32-7, and recorded 26 shots on goals to Delaware’s six. The Seawolves also won the battle of the turnovers as they forced 22 turnovers, nine of which were caused, and only turned it over 13 times.

Junior defender Avery Hines helped anchor the defense as she caused a career-high six turnovers and scooped up three ground balls. Her six caused turnovers are the most in a game by a Stony Brook player since Haley Dillon forced six turnovers vs. Vermont on March 26, 2022.

Stony Brook opened the game on an 8-0 scoring run, with Hart rattling the cage four times over the span. Senior attack Maggie Reznick and senior attack Hayden Lachenmeyer each scored their first career goals in the first quarter.

The Seawolves added to their lead in the second quarter and took a commanding, 11-2, lead into the halftime break. Stony Brook surrendered just three shots in the first half and forced 14 turnovers.

Stony Brook continued to cruise in the second half as it outscored Delaware, 6-2, over the final 30 minutes on its way to the 17-4 victory. Masera scored all three of her goals in the second half, while Verhulst scored two of her three goals. 

METRO photo

By Leah S. Dunaief

Leah Dunaief,
Publisher

For whatever reason, we, in America, have always had an age bias. We have even been said to worship youth. We buy clothes to make us look younger. We get injections, and we even submit to surgery in order to deceive the eye of the beholder and appear more youthful. Many people have complained about ageism in hiring practices. Women have even bemoaned that they become invisible after age 50. We do crossword puzzles to retain our cognitive abilities.

Is it any wonder, then, that age has recently burst into view concerning our upcoming presidential election? The likely contenders are 77 and 81. That means in January 2029, when the next president will replace one of them, they will be 82 and 86. Until now, Ronald Reagan was the oldest president, leaving office just short of 78.

Both men are being studied for signs that they are too old. Both have had memory lapses. But is memory what determines a person’s ability to perform in a leadership role? Even more crucial, for the rest of us, is memory failure the first sign of impactful cognitive decline and even of encroaching dementia?

According to Dr. Charan Ranganath, professor of psychology and neuroscience, Director of the Dynamic Memory Lab at the University of California, Davis, “As an expert in memory, I can assure you that everyone forgets. In fact, most of the details of our lives—the people we meet, the things we do and the places we go—will inevitably be reduced to memories that capture only a small fraction of those experiences.”

The professor goes on to say, in an Opinion Guest Essay for the New York Times this past Monday, that it is normal to be forgetful as we get older, starting in our 30s. He makes an interesting distinction, however, about memory omissions: There is forgetting and there is Forgetting. To understand the difference is to relax about an occasional lack of memory.

The first (with the small f) describes struggling for that word or name on the tip of our tongue that just cannot be remembered. The professional term for that is “retrieval failure,” and while the word or name is there, we can’t summon it immediately or at all. Those of us who watch “Jeopardy!” on television see examples of that nightly as each contestant struggles to call out the answer to the question first—or as the game works, to call out the proper question to match the answer. They may have the information in their heads but just can’t grab it in time.

Forgetting (with a capital F), however, is when a memory is lost or totally gone. The example of the first, that the professor offers from the political scene, is when the names of the leaders of two countries or people are conflated, as Biden did with Mexico and Egypt and Trump with Pelosi and Haley. An instance of the second is if the President didn’t remember meeting the leader of Egypt at all.

The prefrontal cortex is the brain area that is responsible for daily memory, and it changes somewhat as we age. I prefer to think of it as the Rolodex that becomes so full with thoughts and experiences as we live our lives, that it turns increasingly slowly when called upon to produce a particular memory, like a name or date. While it does turn, it may not retrieve the information until the middle of the next night, and whom can we call with the answer then?

We all want to be “super-agers” and retain our cognitive abilities. There is, according to the professor, a huge degree of variability in cognitive aging. While aging is associated with loss of memory, that should not be equated with cognitive decline.

The professor points out that Harrison Ford, Paul McCartney and Martin Scorsese are the same age as Biden, Jane Fonda is 86, and my mentor in the aging-and-functioning department, Warren Buffett, the head of Berkshire Hathaway, is 93.

So if you can’t come up right away with that name you’re intensely seeking, you’re in good company.

METRO photo

By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

Here we are, poised on the precipice of 2024, or, if you’d prefer, at the bottom of the mountain, looking up at the year ahead.

What a privilege to start 2024 together, to share the same air, to enjoy or brace for the same weather, to root for or against the same teams and to revel in the miracle of our children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and neighbors.

As we venture into the days, weeks and months ahead, we can all see certain patterns continuing because, let’s face it, we know the familiar playbook people use. I would love to figure out how to capitalize on some coming certainties. If, for example, we had a dime for every time the song “Jingle Bells” came on in department stores around the country in the last few weeks of each year, we’d have enough money to buy our own one-horse open sleigh and fill it with presents. With that in mind, I’d like to consider certainties or near certainties in various realms.

Political:

Let’s start with former president Donald Trump. A dime for every time he insulted someone could pay for an enjoyable and deluxe vacation to Europe or, if you prefer, a week or more at a Disney resort.

A dime for each time he uttered the words “rigged,” “witch hunt,” or “socialist,” would also net some nice cash.

Collecting money when he referred to himself in the third person, as in “only Donald Trump can fix that” would also prove profitable.

President Biden, of course, has his go-to approaches and idiosyncrasies as well. Collecting money when he misspoke or stepped in the wrong direction would turn gaffes into cash.

Or, perhaps, adding money each time he became angry or annoyed with someone would also provide considerably more change than the typical back of the couch.

Collecting cash each day that goes by without the president taking questions from the Press Corps or reacting to unscripted moments would also build wealth.

A dime for each time Chris Christie insults Trump would help build a college fund.

Oh, and some change for each time Jim Jordan (R-OH) takes off his coat, MTG scowls, Ron DeSantis uses the word “woke” or attacks Disney, AOC insults NYC, or Nikki Haley smiles when she’s insulted would also make real money.

Sports:

Ah, yes, the world of sports not only is filled with cliches, but also has predictable patterns.

Fans and sports talk radio hosts always know better. Monday morning quarterbacking has become something between a religion and a profession.

The next day, everyone else always claims to have known exactly when to take a pitcher out of a ballgame, when to run the ball and when to take a time out. 

The pundits on the sidelines always know better about the Big Game than the people who are paid to make the decisions.

And, of course, with the Olympics coming in Paris this year, we can anticipate the back stories about athletes who are competing in memory of a cherished dead relative who inspired them. If we the viewers had a dime for every tear shed during these serious and melodramatic moments, we’d be able to afford the plane ticket to Paris to watch the Games in person.

I’m not minimizing the inspiration these athletes take from their relatives, coaches and friends. I’m reflecting on the types of stories, with their sad, moving slow guitar background music, these networks share, combining loss and grief with determination and the quest for glory.

Random but predictable moments:

As a coach for many teams, I am sure parents throughout the country are convinced that their children are being short changed. A dime for each parent complaint could provide a down payment for a new field.

I’d also like to collect money each time someone who talks all the time “breaks their silence” on something. It’s amusing when headline writers suggest that, say, Britney Spears or one of the Kardashians breaks their silence on anything. I thought these non-stop celebrities shared every thought in their heads. Ah yes, a dime for each deep internal secret of people who would do well to be more discrete would also build wealth.

Photo from Stony Brook Athletics

For the 10th season in a row, the Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team (14-3, 7-0 CAA) is headed to the NCAA Tournament. The Seawolves are set to go head-to-head with Penn State (11-6, 3-3 Big Ten) on Friday, May 12, at 7 p.m., in Baltimore, Md. on the campus of Loyola Maryland as announced during the May 9 selection show.

Photo from Stony Brook Athletics

Stony Brook earned the CAA’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament after it claimed its first-ever CAA Championship in dominant fashion on Saturday afternoon. The Seawolves downed Towson, 19-4, en route to their ninth conference tournament title. Stony Brook’s 19 goals were a CAA Championship game record, and the 15-goal margin of victory was the largest ever in a title game.

The winner of Stony Brook vs. Penn State will take on the winner of Loyola Maryland and Fairfield on Sunday, May 14. It marks the third time in history that the Seawolves and Nittany Lions will meet and the first time that the teams square off in the NCAA Tournament. Stony Brook is 2-0 all-time against Penn State and picked up a 16-11 win in their last meeting on April 23, 2019, in University Park, Pa.

Four Seawolves were tabbed to the CAA All-Tournament Team following Saturday’s historic win. Ellie Masera, Hailey Duchnowski, Kailyn Hart, and Clare Levy all earned All-Tournament Team honors and Masera was named the Most Outstanding Performer of the tournament after she recorded 14 points (nine goals, five assists) and 19 draw controls.

Stony Brook made its mark on the CAA as it ran the table in league play, going 7-0, and the team had eight individuals earn CAA postseason honors. Masera was tabbed the CAA Midfielder of the Year and head coach Joe Spallina earned the CAA Coach of the Year honor. For Spallina, it was his seventh conference Coach of the Year award.

Masera was also tabbed to the All-CAA First Team and was joined by Hart and Levy. Morgan Mitchell, Jaden Hampel, Charlotte Verhulst, and Haley Dillon all earned All-CAA Second Team honors.

Stony Brook has advanced to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals four times in its past five appearances. Last season, the Seawolves earned an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament and defeated Drexel and Rutgers before falling to eventual National Champion North Carolina in the quarterfinals. 

#1 Kira Accettella at last Saturday's game. Photo from Stony Brook Athletics

The No. 6 women’s lacrosse team (10-3, 5-0 CAA) controlled both ends of the field en route to a 20-6 victory over William & Mary (7-7, 3-2 CAA) on Senior Day at LaValle Stadium on April 15.

The Seawolves’ offense saw eight different goal scorers and five different hat tricks. Junior midfielder Ellie Masera led the way with four goals while seniors Kailyn Hart, Morgan Mitchell and Charlotte Verhulst and junior Jaden Hampel all recorded three goals. Graduate Kelsi LoNigro added a pair of goals.

Stony Brook struck first with a goal by Mitchell off an assist from senior Erin MacQuarrie. The Tribe did not stay silent for long as they answered back with a goal of their own with 11:55 left to play in the first quarter. William & Mary found the back of the cage for a second time within the next three minutes to take a 2-1 lead.

Photo from Stony Brook Athletics

With 8:47 remaining in the first quarter, Hart scored her first goal of the contest to tie the contest at 2-2. Hampel and Verhulst added a goal each to give the squad a 4-2 lead heading into the quarter break. The Seawolves got off to a hot start in the second quarter, with MacQuarrie and Mitchell scoring back-to-back goals.

The second quarter was all Stony Brook as it added eight more goals throughout the remaining 13 minutes to head into halftime with a 14-3 lead. The Seawolves went on to outscore the Tribe 6-3 in the second half of the contest to run away with the 20-6 victory.

Prior to the game, the Seawolves honored their senior class, which is comprised of Kira Accettella, Ella Whitehouse, Kailyn Hart, Morgan Mitchell, LoNigro, MacQuarrie, McKenzie Mitchell, Haley Dillon, Lindsay Rongo, Lexie Correia, Shana Hecht, Hailey Duchnowski, and Verhulst.

“Senior Day is always an emotional day. I thought our players did a really good job of funneling their emotions of Senior Day festivities into another dominating conference win. For us, rebounding off a really poor performance at Rutgers Wednesday night, it was good for us to be able to play a few days later and get back on the horse a little bit. I love the senior class, it is a special group to me, they’ve been here a while. I think a bunch of them are going to wind up coming back, but they have made a tremendous impact on our program,” said head coach Joe Spallina.

“We have never moved the ball quite like we did today, and there were a lot of assisted goals today. It was great to get an assisted game into our books and be less of a dodging team. I think today really helped us,” said senior midfielder Charlotte Verhulst.

 “I think today we were just, as a whole today, all in sync. We had assisted goals, dodging goals, free position goals and I think just as a whole we were in sync with each other,” said senior attacker Morgan Mitchell.

The team is back in action on April 22, when they travel to Towson, Md. to take on Towson. Face-off is set for 12 p.m. and the game will be broadcast live on FloLive.